Thank you, Peter. It is an honor to stand here with you and our partners at the FBI, the Rhode Island State Police, the Rhode Island Attorney General’s Office, and the Providence Police Department to announce this most recent, strategic strike against La Cosa Nostra.
The charges we are announcing today against a capo, another member, and two associates, of the New England LCN – as well as the additional allegations we are making against alleged longtime boss Luigi Manocchio – show our determination to put an end to the mob’s operations in Rhode Island, and throughout the Northeast.
The defendants charged today feared that law enforcement was watching them – and they were right to be concerned. Our commitment to fighting organized crime is unshakeable. We understand that sustained enforcement is the only way to break the grip of La Cosa Nostra in the United States. Today, for example, you see charges against a capo who allegedly stepped in to continue extortion operations after the January 2011 arrest of Manocchio and another LCN associate.
Since the department announced, earlier this year, the largest enforcement action ever against La Cosa Nostra in the United States, we have been sending the message loud and clear that we are here to stay.
In January, we arrested 91 LCN leaders, members, and associates, and 36 other defendants, in four districts on charges ranging from racketeering and murder to extortion and drug trafficking.
In March, we brought additional charges here in Rhode Island against the former boss of the New England LCN and three associates.
In May, we announced one of the largest enforcement actions ever against La Cosa Nostra in Philadelphia, charging 13 leaders, members, and associates of the Philadelphia LCN Family with crimes that spanned more than a decade.
And as of today, leaders of the New England LCN – the former boss and a capo allegedly in charge of LCN’s Rhode Island criminal activities – are in prison, pending federal trial.
While re-focusing our approach against traditional organized crime, we have also recognized that we must address emerging threats from transnational organized crime. In February, for example, we announced charges against 102 members and associates of Armenian Power and other transnational organized criminal groups operating in the United States. And in July, the Administration unveiled a transnational organized crime strategy based on a year-long review of the evolving threats we face. This strategy, together with our continued fight against La Cosa Nostra, recognizes that domestic and international partnerships across law enforcement are key to identifying and addressing the threats posed by organized crime. Today’s operations represent the kind of collaborative law enforcement that breeds success.
Relying on violence and intimidation to carry out their illegal activities, organized criminal groups often act as though if they operate in the shadows, they will escape punishment. They couldn’t be more wrong. Our law enforcement operations over the past nine months should make clear to anyone watching that we are zeroing in on La Cosa Nostra and other organized criminal groups, and that we will not rest until our work is done.
I’d now like to turn it over to our partner from the FBI, Assistant Special Agent in Charge John Foley.